What Is A Face Serum & How Does It Work?

What Is A Face Serum & How Does It Work?

Nothing ages better with time than fine wine— but we definitely do wish that our skin had the ability to improve with time. Unfortunately, our skin concerns only tend to increase as our body changes. We experience dryness, brown spots, acne, dullness, fine lines, wrinkles, and an unending list of skin concerns.

While there are several products that we incorporate in our skin care regime such as moisturizer, cleanser, toner and hydrating lotion, our skin may still need a little more help to be its best nourished, radiant and spot-free self. 

And this is where we should introduce our skin to its new best friend - a face serum. A face serum is an oil or water-based and lightweight topical liquid. Face serums assist in nourishing, hydrating and improving skin quality

In This Article

    What is a Face Serum?

    A face serum is a skincare formulation that is lighter in weight than a regular moisturizer or cream with concentrated active ingredients that function by penetrating deep within the skin. 

    For the record, serums are not moisturizers but they do fulfill the functions of a moisturizer such as hydrating, nourishing and moisturizing the skin. But while moisturizers work on the surface of the skin, face serums work from within the skin.

    These can be usually found as gel or liquid and are lighter and transparent in their formulation.

    Due to the presence of concentrated ingredients, face serums work on skin issues comparatively faster than other products and thus, give satisfactory results in a short duration of time. 

    Benefits of Face Serum

    Let us begin by saying that face serum is the elixir we’ve all been searching for - quick, visible results, a solution for almost all skin issues (with the right mix/formula) and lightweight and non-sticky. 

    Now, let’s have a look at a few of the skin issues that we can tackle with face serums

    • Anti-aging
    • Acne spots / brown spots / dark spots
    • Hydration and moisturization
    • Exfoliation
    • Brightening
    • Skin-sagging
    • Skin nourishment 
    • Irritation and skin-inflammation
    • Improving skin texture/tone

    In short, face serum, in a way, can be customized with the addition or removal of ingredients to tackle any skin issue. 

    Note: While face serum may work for the majority, people suffering from skin conditions like eczema or rosacea should avoid these products. Face serum’s feature of penetrating deep within the skin to function can result in further irritation of the skin in people with eczema or rosacea 

    Choosing the Best Face Serum

    Before starting your search for the best face serum, it is essential to understand the pain points that you hope to work on. Face serums may be the elixir for the best skin, but even so, you need to look for the right ingredients in the face serum to tackle your main skin concerns. 

    Apart from your main skin concerns, your skin type is another characteristic that plays a crucial role in selecting the best face serum

    Can men use the same face serum formulated for women? 

    Face serum for women can be used as a face serum for men, but only after checking the suitability of skin concerns and the ingredients used in the serum. 

    Skin Concerns and Ingredients to Look For

    Dry/ Dehydrated Skin : 

    If you’re struggling with dry skin, a serum with active ingredients like ceramide, hyaluronic acid vitamin E, vitamin C , and Ferulic acid. is the most suitable face serum for dry skin. These ingredients are known to hydrate the skin. 

    Oily / Acne Prone Skin : 

    Oily skin produces excess natural oil or sebum making it more prone to acne. Face serum for oily skin should also tackle the skin issue of acne and open pores. Thus, choose a serum that includes ingredients like:

    • Salicylic acid helps to control the over-production of sebum and also reduces the appearance of acne, blackheads and whiteheads
    • Glycolic acid is known to minimize pore size. Moreover, a serum for open pores should consist of glycolic acid as it helps to fade hyperpigmentation, acne marks and brown spots. 
    • Azelaic acid has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also prevents blackheads and helps exfoliate skin pores. 
    • Retinol liposomes are derivatives of vitamin A that help promote cell turnover, and improve skin elasticity and texture. Retinol is also known to fade the appearance of spots and blemishes.
    • Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B-3 that helps control oil production, reduces inflammation of the skin, improves the appearance of skin pores as well as helps retain moisture. It is also helpful in the treatment of severe acne. 
    Dull /Pigmented Skin: 

    The secret to achieving a bright, radiant skin is in the ingredients, niacinamide, vitamin C, vitamin E and kojic acid that are formulated together to develop a perfect face serum for glowing skin

    • Niacinamide is one of the best ingredients for those with dry or dull skin. As an essential nutrient and derivative of vitamin B-3, niacinamide helps retain moisture of the skin, fades the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and protects and repairs skin from sun damage. 
    • Vitamin C is among the most loved ingredients in the skin care industry. It is especially recommended for those with dull skin due to its ability to hydrate skin and improve its texture. Apart from minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and helps reduce tanning and pigmentation. 
    • An essential nutrient, vitamin E helps minimize skin damage caused by UV rays. Additionally, it also protects the skin from harmful free radicals. 
    • Kojic acid helps treat melasma, and dark spots and reduces signs of aging. 

    Using a Face Serum

    • Face serum should be applied after cleansing your face. 
    • For sensitive skin, it is advised to allow your skin to completely dry off before the application of the serum. Water-based products when applied on semi-wet or damp skin may result in skin irritation. You can also do a test patch of the serum on your skin if you have sensitive skin. 
    • It should be the first skin care product to apply to your face. 
    • A face serum should be followed by the application of a moisturizer and sunscreen during the day. 

    If your main concern is skin hydration, you should apply pea-sized face serum twice a day to achieve well-hydrated and plump skin. 

    For pigmentation, face serum should be applied in the morning or included in your ‘a.m.’ skin care routine as the antioxidants present in the serum helps protect your skin from environmental factors such as harmful UV rays, pollution, etc. 

    If you have oily or acne prone skin, it is recommended to use serums with niacinamide and vitamin C as this helps brighten your skin. These also help calm skin irritation and inflammation. Avoid using certain serums with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide during the day. Due to its high potency, benzoyl peroxide is best applied at night. 

    Since skin is known to repair and indulge in cell turnover in the p.m., the best time to apply a face serum for anti-aging is before going to bed. 

    When using a serum, ensure that you do not over-use or under-use it. It is also important to remember that though a face serum helps tackle several skin issues, you should not skip other skin care products like moisturizers, hydrator and sunscreen

    A serum should only be one step of your skin care regime and not your entire skin care routine. 

    On An EndNote

    Face serum is likely the best friend you’ve been searching for and now is perhaps the best time to introduce your skin to it. But before going all in, allow your skin to become comfortable with the new product. 

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